* Posts by Lomax

211 posts • joined 31 Mar 2009

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Snapping at Canonical's Snap: Linux Mint team says no to Ubuntu store 'backdoor'

Lomax

Re: re: We do. But first and foremost.....

"Other people" already have plenty of choices - what sets Linux apart is the level of control you have over it.

Lomax
Thumb Up

Re: If it's not broken, don't fix it.

Or, as LP might say: if it's not broken, fix it until it is.

Canonical are clearly trying hard to become the next Red Hat. How much is a Shuttle worth these days? Personally, I'm laughing all the way to the Devuan.

Lomax

Re: @Lomax

@Anonymous Coward: see icon.

Lomax
Trollface

>Linux needs an app delivery format

Yeah, it's incredible that it has managed to survive for so long without one.

Also missing: a Linux tutorial for new users during set-up. Should include a section on APT/YUM and FHS.

Lomax

>We do want Linux to be mainstream, don't we?

Not at any cost.

Lomax

Re: Debian and Debian derivatives

I switched my apt sources to Beowulf a couple weeks ago, and did an aptitude full-upgrade with only minor difficulty. Beowulf feels faster and more responsive than ASCII on my main laptop (i7 X230), and ASCII was already plenty fast. Result!

Lomax

Re: Bad neighbor

Devuan +1

I've been running it on my main laptop, a local server and a whole bunch of Pis since "ASCII". Recently migrated to "Beowulf" (which incidentally was released yesterday) and was blown away by the speed & quality improvements. It's a superb distro - and I've tried a few, including Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Mint, Alpine, Debian, Red Hat, and others I can't remember. Never been down the Arch, Slack or BSD paths, but that's mainly because I started my Linux journey on Ubuntu and got used to the Debian way. I would recommend anyone with an interest in Linux to give Devuan a go - you may never look back!

'I wrote Task Manager': Ex-Microsoft programmer Dave Plummer spills the beans

Lomax

Re: Today's Taskmanager

Good old Seven; the last version of Windows that was compatible with my neocortex - and with my ethics.

If you miss the happier times of the 2000s, just look up today's SCADA gear which still has Stuxnet-style holes

Lomax
Holmes

Re: Old design old problems

Registering on a forum only to plug a product with your very first post is never a good look.

Started from the bottom, now we're near: 16 years on, open-source vector graphics editor Inkscape draws close to v1.0

Lomax
Facepalm

Re: Bad news: Extensions will need to be updated to work with this release

> I'll have to be happy with my vintage version.

...or help make the extension compatible.

HMD Global pokes head out of quarantine to show off 3 new Nokia mobiles

Lomax
Thumb Up

Writing this on an XA2 Dual SIM - the small one, not an "Ultra" or a "Plus" - running Sailfish 3.2 without the spyware Android layer. Great performance in a pocket friendly size, and the dual SIM slots prove incredibly useful now that I'm under CV lock-down in a foreign country. Only complaint would be somewhat sluggish JS performance on some websites (I'm looking at you Indy) - but El Reg flies along :)

Morrisons puts non-essential tech changes on ice as panic-stricken shoppers strip stores

Lomax

Re: Flu....

So it seems COVID-19 is something like 20 times deadlier than a garden variety flu, though I have seen estimates around 2-3% from multiple trustworthy sources. The WHO puts it at 3.4%. But as you say, these numbers typically fail to take into account that an unknown number of those infected may have mild enough symptoms not to seek medical help and get tested. Perhaps not even fair to compare in the first place since they belong to different families, and the effects are quite different. I just read this in the Indy:

Italian doctors have warned medics across Europe to “get ready” for coronavirus in a letter revealing up to 10 per cent of all those infected with coronavirus need intensive care, with hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

The letter, seen by The Independent, reveals the scale of the impact on hospitals in Italy where 5,883 patients have been infected with the virus and 233 people have died as of 6pm on Saturday.

In the note, sent to the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine, critical care experts Professor Maurizio Cecconi, Professor Antonio Pesenti and Professor Giacomo Grasselli, from the University of Milan, revealed how difficult it had been to treat coronavirus patients.

They said: “We are seeing a high percentage of positive cases being admitted to our intensive care units (ICUs), in the range of 10 per cent of all positive patients."

That's... not good. The UK has about half as many ICU beds per capita as the Eropean average (~6 per 100k vs ~11 per 100k - Italy has 12.5). Add to that the elevated risk of infection faced by health-care staff, with the possibility that many of them will be forced to self-isolate, and it looks like a perfect storm for the poor old NHS. I recommend reading the linked article in full; it has more detail on the effects of the virus.

Don't be fooled, experts warn, America's anti-child-abuse EARN IT Act could burn encryption to the ground

Lomax
Holmes

Re: *shudders*

> Perfectly Panders to the Phoney Proselytizing Praying Protectors of Personal Purity.

You are A Man from Mars, and I claim my five pounds.

After 1.5 million days of computer time, [email protected] heads home to probe potential signs of alien civilizations

Lomax
Go

Re: Small window of time

It seems logical to assume that the same factors which drove these developments here on Earth would also apply to any alien civilisation which develops radio. So it is possible, perhaps even likely, that our search for alien radio signals will remain fruitless (cf. METI), and that some other means of detecting life/intelligence on other planets is needed. The James Webb Space Telescope may be able to capture spectra from the atmospheres of extrasolar planets, which could be used to detect the likely presence of life; certain compositions would be difficult to explain other than as the result of some biological process. I have hope such a detection might even happen in my lifetime - surely the greatest discovery in all of human history - and shall be crossing my fingers quite firmly come launch-day.

Lomax

Re: Small window of time

Not only that; signal strength has decreased dramatically since the early days of radio, in step with inreased receiver sensitivity. And much that used to be broadcast is now distributed over the Internet instead. Thirdly, broadcast transmissions today often come from satellites, which direct their output at a nicely absorbing body. I expect these trends to continue, at least until human colonies / spacecraft are scattered around the galaxy.

Breaker one-nine, this trucker's rubber ducked, facing a year in the slammer for Acer laptop thefts

Lomax
Stop

And yet, gambling addiction is a thing. Keenly encouraged by a myriad of shady businesses. Why it remains legal, while other drug dealing is not, I cannot understand.

According to the [Australian] Productivity Commission's 2010 final report into gambling, the social cost of problem gambling [in Australia] is close to 4.7 billion dollars a year. Some of the harms resulting from problem gambling include depression, suicide, lower work productivity, job loss, relationship breakdown, crime and bankruptcy. A survey conducted in 2008 found that the most common motivation for fraud was problem gambling, with each incident averaging a loss of $1.1 million. (Wikipedia)

Basically, addicts commit crimes on behalf of gambling companies, who promptly off-shore the stolen cash. Drug dealers at least provide an actual product.

Get in the C: Raspberry Pi 4 can handle a wider range of USB adapters thanks to revised design's silent arrival

Lomax
WTF?

Re: Power to the Pi-ple

> a piece of cake

tl;dr?

> using the pin headers for power (whether in or out) has a major draw-back: it gets really fiddly if you also want the Pi to wear a hat

Lomax
Coat

Power to the Pi-ple

Personally, I would much rather see a sturdier and more tinkering friendly power connector on the Pi. I typically use the Pi in conjunction with a load of other 5 V powered thingamawidgets, and often opt to use the pin headers to supply power instead of the Micro-USB port (or USB-C on the Pi4). This because 1) the Pi's internal power bus can only handle max 1.75 A on the Pi 3 (minus any current drawn over the USB or camera interfaces), and I often need moar power for LEDs, steppers and such 2) while I do have male solderable Micro-USB plugs in my parts bins, they're a pain in the $%& to solder, especially when working on the road (= no microscope, no Weller, no Panavise) and 3) cutting and stripping Micro-USB cables quickly becomes an expensive exercise, again particularly when on the road, where I often cannot wait for - or sometimes even receive - postal deliveries.

But using the pin headers for power (whether in or out) has a major draw-back: it gets really fiddly if you also want the Pi to wear a hat; the neatest way I've come up with is to replace the 5 V & GND pair of pins with double height pins which pass through the Pi PCB and bend at 90° on the rear - but yet again; this is a pain to do while out of the workshop (except on the Pi Zero, which you can get without the header already soldered in).

tl;dr

I would love it if they could replace the Pi's USB power input with either a pair of screw terminals or a plain old DC barrel jack. Hell, even a separate pair of 2.54 mm header pins would be a huge improvement!

Icon: see ti-tle.

Ofcom measured UK's 5G radiation and found that, no, it won't give you cancer

Lomax

Re: I'll wait it out.

> a 5W UV source to your head will cause PTCH mutation

Interesting. I am well aware that UV photons do have enough energy to damage DNA (and potentially cause skin cancer) - that's why I was careful to say "incandescent" light bulb; but perhaps I should have been clearer: a tungsten filament bulb is "safe" in terms of UV radiation unlike, say a halogen bulb or a metal-halide bulb. I did not know that as little as 5 W was enough to pose a risk though! But I expect this would have to be in very close proximity (i.e. touching your skin) - otherwise the inverse square law will keep you safe.

> sunshine

Be afraid! No really, be very afraid. That's some dangerous shit. At the same time stellar fusion is our only source of energy (so far), and in the Sun's case the driving force behind all life on Earth our low entropy state. Let's not be ungrateful.

> no-one credible will ever say it is 'safe'

Indeed, and that's because nothing ever is. Safety is a relative concept.

Do:

Take care to protect your skin from solar radiation.

Don't:

Worry about your WiFi router giving you cancer.

Lomax
Boffin

Re: I'll wait it out.

It is perhaps worth pointing out that any electromagnetic radiation (e.g. visible light) has the ability to cause things to heat up. Certain frequencies are better than others at depositing their energy in living tissue - cf. microwave ovens, which cause polar molecules (e.g. water) to warm up through dielectric heating. Cf. also infrared heat lamps used to keep people, animals and food nice and warm. It would certainly be unpleasant to be exposed to microwave band radiation in the hundreds of watts at close range - the equivalent, if you like, of having a 500 W incandescent light bulb strapped to your head - or indeed of putting your head inside a running microwave oven. Your skin would turn rather crispy, you'd smell like barbecue and burnt hair, and the pain would be intense - though it's very unlikely to give you a brain tumor. Electromagnetic radiation of these wavelengths is not able to penetrate very deeply, and any photons which do do not have enough energy to smash DNA molecules. The photon's energy quanta rises with the frequency, so in a relative sense gamma radiation is more dangerous than x-rays is more dangerous than UV radiation is more dangerous than visible light is more dangerous than infrared is more dangerous than microwaves is more dangerous than radio waves. But I'm sure you all knew that already. I once burned a perfectly circular hole in a piece of stage blackout fabric by leaving a 1000 W spotlight pointed at it at too close a distance. Luckily the fabric was fireproofed, so it carbonised without catching alight. Imagine what it would have done to your face.

tl;dr

Don't strap a powerful source of electromagnetic radiation to your head - it will hurt.

Built to last: Time to dispose of the disposable, unrepairable brick

Lomax
Thumb Up

Re: 1:1

The Eizo EV2730Q looks pretty sweet; 26.5" @ 1920x1920 Rather pricey at ~€800, but I still want one :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJG9HOQITrg

Lomax
Happy

1:1

I still have a Thinkpad 770X from last century (1998). Due to the sluggish CPU (PII 300) and tiny RAM (512 MB) it doesn't see a lot of use, other than for some retro gaming, but the glorious 5:4 13.7" LCD with 1280x1024 resolution is a revelation every time I switch it on. 16:9 is like looking at the world through a letterbox by comparison. That it has the best keyboard of any laptop I've tried (thanks in part to being 6 cm thick!), complete with fold-out feet, a DVD player with MPEG2 acceleration and video input/output as well as SPDIF digital audio, only makes it more impressive. It's definitely a bit of a beast to carry around, but it's a damn sexy beast!

Personally, I wouldn't mind having square aspect ratio desktop monitors (such as used by air traffic controllers, and sometimes seen on trading floors) - but then I still regard computers as productivity tools rather than consumption consoles.

My daily driver is a X230 (modded with a X220 keyboard - can't stand the chicklet ones), but I also keep a X220, X201, X61s, T42p, X32 and 600X. And those are not the only Thinkpads I've owned; just the favourites I couldn't part with...

25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill

Lomax
Trollface

Re: Still use Delphi

> Windows 10 is roughly 4GB

Since when can you fit a Windows installation in "just" 4 GB? Last time I checked minimun disk space usage for a clean install was in the 20-30 GB range, and I cannot imagine it has shrunk since. And .NET is part of the problem, not the solution. A monstrosity wrapped in an atrocity.

Tesla's chief accounting officer drives off after just a month on the job

Lomax
Devil

Re: The product is strong, and the vision is excellent

> His car company has no future.

That aged well. Since you posted this Tesla has doubled its takings to ~$7bn, and has turned a profit four out of the six last quarters. Their Q3 2019 balance sheet showed cash reserves of $5.7bn, with sales at ~6,000 cars per week. Share price recently peaked above $800. I think your crystal ball might be in need of new batteries.

Crazy idea but hear us out... With robots taking people's jobs, can we rethink this whole working to survive thing?

Lomax
Flame

Productivity

Am I the only one who's noticed that the least productive jobs are often the best paid? How "productive" is a wealth fund manager? A film star? A footballer? A patent troll? When it comes to providing a basic standard of living for as many people as possible - which surely should be the main function of our economy* - their contribution is insignificant compared to that of the teacher, the nurse, the binman, the factory worker - all of which tend to fall in the lowest wage bracket. In fact, one could argue that rather than contributing the first category represents a net drain on the economy, while the working poor pull far more than their fair load.

*) I.e. make sure everyone has a roof over their head and food on the table before worrying about the rights of billionaires.

At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd

Lomax
Meh

Re: No point

> Yes, but not from MS.

Sure, and you can do similar things using Windows PE builder I think. However:

Windows PE is not a general-purpose operating system. It may not be used for any purpose other than deployment and recovery. It should not be used as a thin client or an embedded operating system. There are other Microsoft products, such as Windows Embedded CE, which may be used for these purposes.

To prevent its use as a production operating system, Windows PE automatically stops running the shell and restarts after 72 hours of continuous use. This period is not configurable.

I don't understand how anyone can remain in this abusive relationship. Must be some variant of Stockholm syndrome.

Lomax
Boffin

Re: No point

> apps could be portably moved around

There are a number of ways to package a Linux application for portable use, for example:

Personally, I am not a fan of this approach; it's too proprietary, and only adds confusion (e.g. config files and logs are no longer where you expect them) - which goes against fundamental Linux principles. And of course Linux itself is already extremely portable - I regularly use tools like dd, rsync and chroot to move/copy things around in ways you could not easily replicate on Windows (ever heard of a "live" Windows USB stick for example?). I can understand that as a newbie it looks like your options for moving apps around are more limited than for example on Windows. But while it may require a bit more effort on the end user's part, the reality is that Linux is infinitely more flexible than any Microsoft product.

Lomax
Stop

Re: Finally!

> a new OS

It's not a new OS; it's Debian without the SystemD dependency. You know, like it used to be, before Jessie. If that's new to you then you can't have been long in this game.

Is Chrome really secretly stalking you across Google sites using per-install ID numbers? We reveal the truth

Lomax

Re: Ad flinger makes browser, ad flinger needs to track you

> What would you break out?

Advertising | Search & Maps | Android & Applications | YouTube

Iowa has already won the worst IT rollout award of 2020: Rap for crap caucus app chaps in vote zap flap

Lomax
Meh

Re: So why are you so undemocratic?

Assertion without evidence always fails to impress me. Or is that down-vote to be taken as a data point?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/conservatives-lose-faith-in-science-over-last-40-years/

Lomax
WTF?

Re: So why are you so undemocratic?

> That's not how Homo Sapiens works.

Who told you that?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism#Scientific_viewpoints

Lomax
Holmes

Short Message Service

How about:

Each precinct is provided with a sealed envelope which is opened after the votes in the precinct have been tallied. It contains a (scratch to reveal) document which lists:

1) The telephone number to send the message to

2) A unique random password

2) The order in which the values should be listed

Upon receipt of each message, the server side validates the contents. If valid, a confirmation message is sent and, after optionally requiring a response to confirm the correct numbers were received, the precinct is marked as reported and data shoved into db. If it is invalid (e.g. typo) a message is sent requesting resubmission. Can I have my $60k please?

Sherlock: because it's all elementary.

InLinkUK collapse: Ad market, planning woes, £20m debt and drug dealers using booths to blame, say admins

Lomax
Pint

> Amsterdam have those cool ones that come out of the ground at night.

There's one near Charing Cross station.

Beer: because that's when you need them the most.

If you want an example of how user concerns do not drive software development, check out this Google-backed API

Lomax
Thumb Up

> I can use Facebook with the snooping at a level I'll accept.

You mean something like this?

# nano /etc/dnsmasq.conf

address=/facebook.com/127.0.0.1

service dnsmasq restart

Lomax
Alert

Re: No Chrome,...

> Is there hundreds or even dozens of any program?

Capitalism, as currently practiced, inevitably leads to monopolies. It is a natural instinct for all corporations to grow until they have consumed everything, much like a cancerous cell. Ultimately this never ends well for the host - which in this case is human society itself. There is legislation in place to counteract this, but it is rarely applied. Google urgently needs to be broken up, by separating its advertising side from the software side. The same can be said of many of the other giants of the Internet age, whose influence by far exceed their benefit.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, so the EU is investigating Google to get some more money in its hat

Lomax
Big Brother

Re: Wonder where I heard that before?

Yeah, Google's reCAPTCHA pisses me off. Also forces you to participate in honing Alphabet's self-driving car / image reconition algorithms :( Any third party script which is referenced across a significant percentage of sites (and is required for sites to function) is bad - you basically have no other option but to let them track your movements across the web. From Wikipedia:

> Usage of reCAPTCHA, since its acquisition by Google, is subject to Google's general privacy policy, which essentially requires the user to consent to collection of vast amounts of personal data in order to use websites protected by reCAPTCHA.

I would encourage web developers to think twice before implementing such a solution - self-hosting those libraries is a much better option. This includes fonts. If you need a CAPTCHA mechanism look into self-hosted options such as Invisible Captcha.

Big Brother, becuase he really is watching you.

Lomax
Alert

Re: Wonder where I heard that before?

> It's getting extremely difficult to avoid googlies.

Six simple steps to get you there:

  • Pay for an email service from a trusted provider
  • Use the Firefox web browser
  • Enable "Tracking Protection" in the preferences
  • Install the NoScript add-on
  • Install the UBlock Origin add-on
  • Make a donation to the above projects

Den Automation raised millions to 'reinvent' the light switch. Now it's lights out for startup

Lomax

Re: Boy genius

> long after other people

Indeed. X10 anyone?

My god, it's full of tsars: A gun-toting Russian humanoid robot is on its way to the International Space Station

Lomax

Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

> it makes sense if the arms and head are in a humanoid configuration to match the operator's hand-eye coordination

Absolutely, and that's why our cars, aircraft and boats are all shaped like human bodies. And it's a good thing they put arms and legs on those flying drone things too - how else would we be able to operate them? Not to mention how humanoid submersible ROVs have revolutionised everything from pipeline laying to wreck surveys.

Have you ever used a pen tablet? Human hand-eye coordination works really rather well in unnatural suitations, given a little bit of practice.

Lomax

Re: Why a umanoid robot in space?

From what I've seen it's just as useless on Earth as it will be in space.

Lomax

Re: Pathetic

Fedor is as much a "space robot" as the Tesla sent up by SpaceX is a "space car".

They are both only good for one sinlge thing in space: publicity.

Lomax
Facepalm

Re: Pathetic

What use would a humaniod robot of any kind have inside a space station? In zero gravity a tripod or quadripod with ducted fans would make a hell of a lot more sense. Substitute the fans for gas ejectors for use outside the space station. The extra limbs would allow the robot to hold on to or push against objects for positioning and leverage, so that it can perform work with another arm. And please don't tell me they need a human shaped robot in order to operate equipment on board; most human interfaces will be connected to a computer anyway, which you do not need a robot to operate - nor do you need to look like the Terminator in order to turn a valve or open a hatch. Fedor makes no sense whatsoever on the ISS. Think about it. I just can't stop laughing at the thought of Fedor trying to move around while floating in zero-G - a whole new definition of totally and utterly useless :D I bet you a zillion spacebucks that it will spend its entire time aboard firmly attached to the spot.

Lomax

Re: Pathetic

Found a video of Fedor "walking" - judge for yourselves...

Lomax

Re: Pathetic

Agreed. Though I think "fully autonomous" is still some way off, other than for UAVs and AUVs. Too much "stuff" at ground level - not to mention inside a space station :)

Lomax
Thumb Down

Pathetic

From what I've seen of "Fedor" - if indeed it is representative of Russian state of the art robotics - they are decades behind their western and Asian competitors. Just look at Boston Dynamics' two-legged bots running around in snow covered landscapes, more nimbly and steadily than many humans. I haven't been able to find any video of Fedor even talking a single step, and in most footage it is tethered to keep it from falling over. It also seems Fedor has no autonomous capabilities; it's either pre-programmed for specific movements (like the target shooting scene) or remote controlled by a human. Even Aibo was more advanced here. Clearly this is more of a photo opportunity than any major advance in robotics - makes for good headlines(!) and cool looking social media bait, with more than a hint of Russian machismo (there's even a video of Fedor lifting weights in a gym).

You will know they have advanced beyond childish posturing when their bots stop looking like a prop out of Hardware.

Four more years! Four more years! Svelte Linux desktop Xfce gets first big update since 2015

Lomax

Re: Not one to follow fashion

+1, though in my case I need those FLOPs for Blender. Oh and I can only dream about having 1TB of RAM - that's the size of my boot drive!

Lomax

Re: Debian?

I'm running XFCE in Devuan, which works beautifully. Pretty close to the ideal desktop OS combo IMO. Now if only Firefox could be coaxed into resurrecting the ALSA audio backend... Being stuck on FF Quantum ESR is my only gripe with this setup, everything else is pretty much perfect.

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